Dozens of testimonies submitted to OAG illustrate challenges
PhD in Mental Health Care for Western and Statewide New York
NEW YORK – New York Attorney General Letitia James held a hearing on mental health care in western New York. She has provided testimony from dozens of affected individuals, health care providers, elected officials, and community members about the challenges of accessing and delivering mental health care and services. Testimonies covered a range of issues, including underfunding community health groups and medical facilities, gaps in coordinated care, understaffing, and stigma around mental health care. This was her second hearing for Attorney General James on Mental Health Services, following a hearing in New York City in June 2022. Attorney General James encourages New Yorkers who face problems or barriers to accessing or providing mental health care to make written submissions. She will testify in her office until January 20th. Through these hearings, Attorney General James seeks to gather information directly from urban, suburban and rural communities across the state to inform legislative solutions and enforcement actions.
“The past few months have been particularly devastating for western New York, leaving many without adequate resources or care to address their mental health needs. Attorney General James“These hearings are important to our efforts to improve mental health services for New Yorkers, remove barriers to access to mental health care, and help communities heal.” , thank you to all of the individuals who have shared their personal and often painful experiences.The testimonies and data my office has collected will help us address the mental health crisis that is hitting our state and help bring appropriate and cultural It helps to make appropriate care available to all who need it.”
Today, 21 people gave oral testimony and nearly 100 gave written testimony to the Office of the Attorney General (OAG). Written testimony will be accepted online until Friday, January 20, 2023, and all testimony will be made public.
You can watch the live streaming event here.
Attorney General James’ first hearing will be held in New York City in June 2022 and will primarily focus on issues affecting the downstate community. Dozens of affected family members, health care providers, advocates and elected officials testified at hearings in New York City.
“Many times have been said about mental illness and what needs to be done to make the lives of those who suffer better, but nothing has been done. Instead of empty words, New York State needs to take action to show it really cares about the thousands of people who struggle with mental illness every day and the impact it’s not only having on them, but on their families, friends and society. Elisa and Joe Tobia inspired families who testified at hearings“I lost my 30-year-old son to schizoaffective disorder, but Attorney General James’ work gives us hope for the future. I cannot thank Attorney General James enough for his willingness to take action to ultimately help those who are in need.”
“Quality mental health services are an essential component of community-wide health, but access to these services is not always given,” he said. Erie County Commissioner Mark C. Polonkers“Attorney General James for holding this hearing to gain input from individuals and agencies that deal with mental health issues every day and to gain valuable perspectives that will help improve access statewide. will be grateful to.”
“As chairman of the Senate Mental Health Committee, I am working to improve mental health outcomes in my community and across the state, so I would like to thank Attorney General Letitia James for her interest in improving care in western New York. I am encouraged by what you have given me.” State Senator Samra Brooke. “The Attorney General holds the unique power to implement legislative and enforcement solutions, and I look forward to working with her to address unmet needs in our communities.”
‘There’s a stigma around mental health,’ he said Erie County Council Speaker April NM Baskin“That stigma manifests in our personal lives, where we don’t feel comfortable discussing or acknowledging our own struggles. But only by clarifying what is troubling us can we begin to heal, and by acknowledging that this problem is real and pervasive. Only then can we begin to formulate public policy. This work is uncomfortable, but essential.”
“Mental health is just as important as physical health. As our communities face the need for mental health services, nurses and medical professionals believe hospital systems across the state are committed to providing mental health and detoxification services for inpatients. I’ve seen the service shut down. Nancy Hagans, RN, BSN, CCRN, President of the New York State Nurses Association. “Now is not the time to cut back on mental health services. I would like to thank Attorney General James for organizing this forum to discuss the challenges to access to care, and to help our community feel better, both mentally and physically. I’m looking forward to a real solution that will allow me to heal.”
“Too many New Yorkers are struggling to get access to a series of crises, hospitalizations, community support, and the housing they need and deserve.” Harvey Rosenthal, CEO, New York Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services Association“Every day we see firsthand how harmful these services can be when they are underfunded, understaffed, or not available at all. We sincerely thank Attorney General James for identifying real solutions to help
“I thank Attorney General Letitia James for convening this important hearing. , can only be successful if mental health is addressed on all levels. Melinda DuBois, Executive Director, Mental Health Advocates of Western New York“Based on the trauma experienced by the West New York community, we deserve better. MHA is grateful to be part of the solution.”
“So many Western New Yorkers struggle to get critical mental health services during this time of crisis. We have seen firsthand how detrimental to individual recovery can be if we lack the ability to provide Laura J. Kelemen, LCSW-R (DCS, Niagara County), Chair, New York State Regional Mental Health Commissioners Conference“I want to thank Attorney General James for bringing us together to discuss these challenges and provide our state with real solutions that will help the most vulnerable improve and prosper.
“Too many New Yorkers, and a disproportionate number of people of color, have access only to all kinds of behavioral health care as a result of the deep crisis. It remains confined to treatment rooms and hospital beds. Chak Mathai, Member, New York State Behavioral Health Services Advisory Board“We need to move away from the failed investments and policies of the past and create a systematic shift towards community-based hospital conversion services, including peer-runs and voluntary outreach, engagement and housing-first initiatives. I want to thank Attorney General James for bringing us together to discuss challenges and come up with real solutions so we can help people.
Attorney General James was attended by Deputy Attorney General Jennifer Levy, Assistant Attorney General Michael Reisman, Assistant Attorney General and Special Assistant Attorney General Gina Bull.